Every entity on Earth has certain traits, practices, and physiognomies that make them readily identifiable if a person knows what to look for and it includes political parties. Americans identify teabaggers by their incessant claim they love freedom, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers while they advocate restricting other Americans’ freedoms and eschew the Constitution save the 2nd and 10th Amendments. Republicans are known by the preponderance of things they hate which is everything except tax cuts, deregulation, and cutting safety nets. Republicans particularly hate the Internal Revenue Service, taxes, federal regulations on businesses, IRS prying into Americans’ lives, and of course women; Republicans probably hate women as much as they hate America, but that is another story. It is interesting, then, that the first order of business for House Republicans is a piece of legislation that raises taxes on businesses and individuals, regulates businesses, and mandates IRS prying into Americans’ private lives; all because the GOP harbors intense hatred for women and their constitutional right of the pursuit of happiness.
To set the pace for this year’s session of Congress, instead of addressing jobs, extending unemployment benefits, or crushing income inequality transforming America into a peasant population serving the wealthy, the House will debate legislation crucial to Christian fundamentalists effort to legislate by bible. The bill, H.R. 7, was introduced by fundamentalist Chris Smith (R-NJ) and seeks to rewrite the IRS tax code, re-define health insurance, regulate and tax every business in America, tax individuals, insert the federal government between a woman and private medical decisions, and punish rape victims by making them relive the horrors of sexual assault. Smith promoted his legislation on Tony Perkin’s Family Research Council website as another Christian law prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion, but it is simply legislation mandating the health insurance industry to eliminate coverage for family planning services including abortion. It is important to note that next to raising taxes, Republicans hate the federal government regulating business, especially big businesses like the health insurance industry, as much as they hate women, but regulating and taxing businesses is precisely what Smith’s legislation does under the guise of “religious liberty” to rob women of their right to choose when they produce offspring.
Smith’s bill punishes every healthcare policy holder in America by disallowing a tax deduction on income tax returns for any medical insurance if the policy includes coverage for family planning that nearly all healthcare plans provide. It even punishes women who pay for an abortion with cash because it disallows a medical deduction on Schedule A of individual income tax returns whether it was included in a healthcare insurance plan or not. The bill does allow a sexual assault victim to take the medical deduction for abortion care in a case of rape, but only after an IRS auditor verifies the victim was really sexually assaulted and conceived her attacker’s progeny.
Smith’s bill violates Republicans’ abhorrence of raising taxes, particularly on millions of small businesses because H.R. 7 raises their taxes if their employer-provided health insurance plan includes abortion coverage. The great majority of private and employer-provided plans do include abortion coverage as a legitimate medical procedure and expense, but theocrats in the House want to regulate the health insurance industry to inflict physical, psychological, and economic harm on women. Tax experts have already weighed in and the consensus is that if businesses are forced by federal regulations to choose between an increased tax liability and providing a healthcare plan that includes abortion coverage, most small businesses will switch to a Christian-approved plan under duress from theocrats masquerading as the federal government. The legislation also disallows all businesses from deducting, as a legitimate expense of doing business, their contribution to an employee’s healthcare insurance package or claim employer tax credits if the policy includes family planning coverage. In fact, H.R.7 disqualifies businesses, the insurance industry, and individuals from using the term “qualified health plan” and “health insurance coverage” in any policy covering family planning whether it is privately purchased or through an employer-provided healthcare plan.
Republicans have long-complained that the federal government, especially the IRS, interferes and intrudes into Americans’ private lives, but Smith’s bill amends the Internal Revenue Service code to require IRS auditors to investigate and interrogate sexual-assault survivors who access abortion care. A woman who is raped and does not want to carry to term and raise for eighteen years their rapist’s offspring will be required to relive the violent experience, provide documentation, and recount the violent assault to an IRS auditor. The bill will force the underfunded and understaffed IRS to set aside auditors’ time to sift through police reports, hospital records, and interrogate a rape victim to verify that their medical expense deduction does not violate the fundamentalist statute disguised as a tax code law.
Americans should be asking fundamentalist Smith exactly who the first piece of Republican legislation in 2014 benefits other than the personhood movement, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and misogynist Christians across America. The legislation certainly does not benefit every business in America offering healthcare insurance as an employee benefit, and definitely not every taxpayer who is fortunate enough to afford healthcare insurance. It certainly offers no help to the underfunded and understaffed Internal Revenue Service tasked with interrogating rape victims to verify they were indeed raped, or businesses mandated to file annual IRS reports verifying that their healthcare plans do not violate the Christian tax-code.
Smith’s legislation is an assault on women as much as it is federal government intrusion and interference in business, a universal tax hike, and government overreach into Americans’ personal and business lives. What gives Smith’s legislation away as singling out women for “special treatment” is the lack of an IRS amendment, tax increase, or federal government regulation disqualifying healthcare insurance as a legitimate business expense for policies that include coverage for male boner pills such as Viagra. No, this legislation is solely to impose a religious edict on women even if it means using everything Republicans hate to accomplish the mission and it informs the level of animosity Republican theocrats have for women.
This year is starting out just like the previous three years that Republicans promised to focus on the economy and create jobs only to immediately begin another religious assault on women’s personal rights to make medical and family decisions without interference from theocrats masquerading as the federal government. The biggest difference this year is that Republicans propose raising taxes, increasing business regulations, and forcing the IRS to intrude in Americans’ private lives to impose their religious dogma in what has been a non-stop three-year war against women. This year’s opening assault on women portends that there is no end to Republicans’ demand to control women’s personal lives including breaking character to embrace all the things they hate. Smith’s bill informs that no matter how much Republicans hate tax hikes, regulations on business, or the IRS, it pales in comparison to their hatred of women.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.